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The History Of The Homelands

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With the intention of segregation South African Blacks from the whites, the South African government had established land reserves for blacks. The idea was to send the blacks to the created homelands which stripped them of their citizenship and voting rights, giving whites more political power. The Bantustans were home to corruption, pain, suffering, and many tragic memories under and after the tyranny known as…APARTHEID.

As the years went on, it became harder for a black to live in Apartheid South Africa as the government required blacks to carry around pass books containing fingerprints, photo and information. Defiance of this resulted in cruel punishments. In 1951, the South African Apartheid government passes the Bantu Authorities Act which established African reserves. This aggravated the South African blacks because that meant that they would lose all political rights. They would even be classified as "aliens" in their own country (Standford).

The homelands were pieces of land designated by the apartheid government so blacks could be taken there unwillingly and live without any political rights. The four biggest, by population since 1992, are KwaZulu, Transkei, Lebowa, and Bophuthatswana (Cahoon).

KwaZulu is the largest homelands, by population, created. Since 1992, it has housed 5,748,950 black South Africans (Cahoon). It was established in 1972 and by 1977 it was granted its own self ruling government. It was intended to be a home for the Zulu. It is located in the south-east part of South Africa. Through the years of its independent existence it only had one leader: Chief Minister Mangosutho Buthelezi (1970 - 1994). He was a part of the Inkatha National Cultural Liberation Movement, later renamed to the Inkatha Freedom Party. Until 1980 the capital was Nongoma but was the capitol was moved to Ulundi. It was reintegrated back into South Africa in 1994 (Cahoon).

Transkei is the largest by square feet, but is the second largest of population, housing 4,746,796 black South Africans (Cahoon). It was also the first one to be established. It was formed by the South African government in 1959. It was a homeland for the Xhoso-speaking people, the other being Ciskei. In 1963 it was granted a self-ruling government (Cahoon). It is located on the south eastern part of South Africa, on the left of KwaZulu. Even though its first election was won by the Democratic Party, the government was formed by the Transkei National Independence Party. Chief Kaiser Matanzima was the first leader until 1978 when he assumed the presidency until 1987. When it declared independence from South Africa, it was only recognized as a nation only by South Africa and the other homelands. It was reintegrated back into South Africa in 1994 (Cahoon).

Lebowa, which is the third largest by population because it housed 2,924,584 black South Africans (Cahoon) many were Northern Sotho or Pedi, was established in 1971. It is located in the Transvaal, north eastern South Africa. While Lebowa's capital, Lebowakgomo, was being built; Seshego was acting as temporary capital. In 1972, Lebowa was granted the ability to have its own self-ruling government (Cahoon). Its first leader was Chief Minister Mokgama Matlala, of the Lebowa National Party (1972 - 1973). In 1973, a new leader was elected: Chief Minister Cedric Phatudi, of the Lebowa People's Party (1973 - 1987). Then from October 7th, 1987 to October 21st, 1987 Z.T. Seleka was acting Chief Minister, of the LPP. In 1987 to 1994 the president was Mogoboya Ramodike. It was reincorporated back into South Africa in 1994.

Bophuthatswana, which is the 4th largest by population, was one of the first homelands to be established by the Apartheid government. The land designated by the government housed 2,489,347 black South Africans (Cahoon). It was only for Tswana speaking people. In 1971, it was given its own self-ruling government. By 1977 it was declared independent and was only recognized by South Africa and the other homelands (Cahoon), like every other "independent" homeland. Bophuthatswana's first leader was Chief Councilor Lawrence Mangope (1968 - 1972), later he became Chief Minister (1972 -1977), then president (1977 - 1994). On the 10th day of February in 1988, a man by the name Rocky Malabane-Metsing used the military to overthrow the Bophuthatswana government to become president. Within hours the South African government and the South African Defense Force intervened the situation and took down Malabane-Metsing. After that Mangope continued the rest of his presidency. But prior to 1994, the army and police dealt with many Afrikaners attempting to start a coup. Several Afrikaner right-wingers were killed on live television because of this uprising. After the presidency of Mangope, which ended March 13th, 1994; two administers: Tjaart van der Walt and Job Mokgoro, took control of Bophuthatswana until April, 1994 (SAHO). It was reincorporated back into South Africa in April 1994 (Cahoon).

Even though the homelands became independent and had their own leaders, they were unable to develop local economies. Many of the workers left the reserves and went South Africa for work, and when they got their pay, they sent it back home to their families (SAHO). Just like many other African nations, the Bantustans or homelands were generally poor. There was very little employment opportunities while living in a homeland.

South Africa, a country that has been blessed with a bounty of natural resources including farmlands that were so fertile and mineral resources unique to the world, has a disastrous past. A past of torture, murder, hate, and unrighteousness. A past of Apartheid. During the Apartheid Era, South African Blacks were at the end of the "Prosperity Sick", at the "bottom of the food chain." They were treated horribly, and also taken advantage of. In a fortifying effort of the whites to crush the black's spirit, it only intensified their fight. Many South African blacks were killed in uprisings, many were put in jail, and many were banished from their own homes! The whites even came up with a wicked plan to win this never ending fight. They came up with the idea of "Homelands" or known in South Africa as "Bantustans." A Homeland is a piece of land that was home for many. They would take most of the black and put them on these pieces of land which stripped the black of the political rights, meaning they couldn't vote and it also meant they weren't citizens of South Africa anymore. They were "aliens" in the own country! The homelands were very poor and had very little employment options, but that didn't stop the Africans. They left the homelands in search of jobs, and whatever money they make, they send it back home to their family.

The South African Homelands, Bophuthatswana, Ciskei, Gazankulu, KaNgwane, KwaNdebele, KwaZulu, Lebowa, Qwaqwa, Transkei, and Venda, were pitiful attempts established by the South African Apartheid Government to crush the black's spirit, hope, and thoughts of a world without prejudice, and racism. It only increased their reasons of fighting. The past can be disastrous, devastating, mortifying, destructive, desolating, and overwhelming to bear, but it's the corruption of powers that lead to it.

Works Cited Page

Cahoon, Ben. "Former Black Homelands (Bantustans)." World Statesmen.org. Web.

"The History of Apartheid in South Africa." Standford.edu. Standford University. Web.

"The Homelands." South African History Online. Web.


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